Fusion: Intertel makes TV history

Associated-Rediffusion’s house magazine, Fusion, on the Intertel project

Drawing of various people in national costume (or stereotypical costume)

This month sees the transmission of Associated-Rediffusion’s third Intertel programme – ‘Living with a Giant’. Last month the first American programme, ‘Postscript to Empire’, was screened in this country. By the time these features have been shown in each of the countries of the participating organisations some 42 million people will know a little more about world affairs and have a better understanding of world problems.

So far each of the documentaries produced for Intertel, including Associated-Rediffusion’s earlier contributions about South Vietnam and ‘The Heartbeat of France’, have been broadcast in peak viewing hours in the four principal English-speaking countries of the world. This means that they have probably been seen by more viewers than any other international feature programmes in television history.

This, in itself, is a considerable achievement. But there is also the fact that wherever our programmes have been shown they have received high praise for their imaginative treatment of their subject and for the skill with which they have been made. Further, Intertel has demonstrated that television can be used to show people how others live and what problems others have to face, and that it can be done entertainingly.

From 'Fusion', the house magazine of Associated-Rediffusion, issue 23 from February 1962
'Living with a Giant', scheduled for screening on 21 February, tells of the impact of the American giant on Canada. Here Adrian Cooper, the photographer of the programme, gets a worm's-eye view of North American football.

And so the idea of Intertel, which was first conceived in Television House, London, has made its impact on people in New York and Washington, Ottawa and Quebec, Sydney and Brisbane. This is the power of television.

Now plans are in hand for a second cycle of one-hour documentaries to be produced for transmission in 1963 and 1964 by the International Television Federation, to give Intertel its full name. In addition, four 60-minute ‘special programmes’ in the form of interviews with outstanding leaders in their respective fields will be presented by the members – Associated-Rediffusion, the Australian Broadcasting Commission, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the National Education Television Network [sic] and Westinghouse Broadcasting Company of America. These special interviews will begin in July this year.

Further Intertel documentaries will study American aid in action in South Vietnam, Cambodia, Pakistan and Ghana; examine Turkey under its new leaders; report on the changing face of Mexico; and take a close-up look at ‘The Last Paradise’ – Tahiti. They have a high standard to maintain.

Ronald Elliott

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